Things Which Caught My Eye

So much wonderful work by so many terrific artists to check out at this year’s Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival. I did a bit more perusing on Saturday, just letting the stuff which caught my eye draw me in, amaze me, amuse me, delight me. Art as a spectator activity is fun. Different styles and techniques appeal to different people. I saw lots of ribbons hanging about and I loved many of the creations they were awarded to. But some I loved were ribbon-less. So, maybe a bit of overlap, but here would be some of my personal blue ribbon favorites!

Here’s to the Artists!

John Thursby – Ocala, Florida

My take: Wonderful paintings with terrific color, detail. He portrays a real person, presents a real scene I can stand and look at for awhile taking in all the details. Good stuff, just north of Winter Park in Ocala, and right now in Central Park! I love his use of color, of tone, detail and FEEL, the mood which develops and brings you in to it.

“I Feel Pretty”. No, she’s beautiful in every way.

I didn’t catch the name of this one, but I became engrossed in the detail, swirls, color tones of the afghan. I love and am amazed by such pieces, the patience and talent which bring it all together.

Elaine Rader – Blue Ridge, Georgia

My take: Great jewelry at such events also needs an appropriate and complimenting manner of display. Rader’s pieces are wonderful and beautifully crafted, and the natural pieces used in the display served that much more to accent the natural, earthy quality of the work.

Natural beauty made by God, Mother Nature, accented and elevated by man. Okay, by a woman. But a human. Such pieces become beloved pieces for a lifetime, don’t fade in and out of style. They endure.

Striking. Eye-catching. Beautiful. Nature propelled.

Karen Fincannon – Tucker, Georgia

My take: I love VARIETY at arts festivals. BIG pieces have big impact, no question. But not everyone needs a BIG piece for their home or office or that window ledge in the kitchen. Everyone has a small space which could use a bit of color, a personality boost. Artists like Karen Fincannon can fill most any small space, get them noticed and admired, command big attention from color and pattern packaged in a small size. I also have this running theory . . . . artists personalities are revealed in their art. Karen’s work has so much personality and warmth. Stop back behind the tent and chat it up with her and her husband and you’ll find the art doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or, well, some such saying. What I’m saying is that her work isn’t the only thing with warmth and personality.

Carpe the hearts! But pay for them first. Wonderful small, colorful pieces which can bright a day, a morning, an evening.

Art that stares back. No intimidation factor. Just adoration, coming and going.

Here doggie, doggie. Multiple breeds. I’m partial to Boxers, so that one won out. But the Schnauzer was also a fave.

Michael Gard – San Francisco, California

My take: Michael Gard’s wire sculptures are not only wonderful, they look SPECTACULAR hanging high against a backdrop of gorgeous, deep blue Florida spring sky. Silver and gold, they dance above gracefully, beautifully. Human shapes we’re familiar with, know, but now light and airy, we see them, we see through them, as they dance. These are the sorts of pieces which delight all ages, bring them together to marvel at how a simplistic well-known form can be turned on its ear and surprise. And the ones hanging against the backdrop of the blue of the sky and the bright green of new leaves, magic!

All she wants to do is dance.

Airy dance troupe.

Tony Savoie – Orlando, Florida

My take: Tony’s a local artist whose work I am familiar with, as friends have a LARGE piece in their dining room. I often marvel at it when I’m there, as it can show me something new each visit. That’s not a one-time thing with Tony, but maybe his own status quo. There’s a huge piece at the back of the booth when we go in. I wasn’t even sure I really liked it. We got up close and I see that there are hundreds (thousands) of screws in the back, underneath. Later, we moved back and as we were talking to him I see all the other aspects of it I was not prepared to see before. Tony says its a statement about population, that since he was born the earth now has approximately twice as many people. Again, it’s a piece which keeps on giving. I’d noticed the baby early on, didn’t see the mother until just as we were leaving. Its beauty, its detail there since the moment I entered his booth, but not revealing itself until I was ready for it. Two other pieces (below) which I instantly liked. When I go back today, pretty sure I may see something completely new in them. Watch for Tony in one of my future blogs where I spotlight an artist. With Tony, yeah, might have to be a series, as you seem to learn and see new stuff each visit.

“Transformer”. The old-fashioned kind.

“The Hunt”.

Kina Crow – Allison Park, Pennsylvania

My take: Art can be a complex amalgam of visual experiences . . . how it makes you feel, the perspective you bring and how it may shift it a bit, how you remember it and what you remember, if it prompts you to laugh or cry. All those can be good, but my general preference is toward HAPPY. (Don’t we all need some HAPPY?) Kina Crow’s pieces are for me a large landscape of color and pattern with small windows which can remind us not to take things to seriously, to appreciate what we have and who we are, to maybe take a few steps back and take it all in and then celebrate who we are and all that is unique about us. She constructs the sort of pieces which will delight from afar and then bring chuckles or outright laughter close up. Can’t speak for everyone else, but I would like to have more of that hanging around my house.

Below: “She was ever so slightly insane, but felt she disguised it quite well.”

Below: “Adrift with only her tutu and her everyday tiara.”

(Priceless! A little touch of . . . . I needed that.)

Ken Orton – Roxbury, New York

My take: I love glass. Not sure when that kicked in, exactly. I think it’s the sort of thing which develops as we get older. I especially love old glass, handmade, with its imperfections, embossed advertising, how it shines light or has darkened, its transparency, how it reflects light but then allows it through. Ken Orton makes glass, old glass. Yet it’s not the kind of glass which sits on a shelf, it instead hangs on a wall. He paints it. All of its wonderful light and dark qualities, its perfection and imperfection, he puts it onto canvas in large warm and somber images, character and mood caught and frozen. I find his pieces to be stunningly beautiful, a reminder through his own amazing artistry of the simple beauty which is all around.

A touch of glass. Beautiful.

Paul Andrews – Charlotte, N.C.

My take: Wow. But I’ll go on. Wow, wow. Depth and shadow and eye-deceiver extraordinaire! Paul Andrews makes art you may first stand well back from and gaze at it, trying to figure out what is going on, but then you move in, looking at it directly first, then from the side, below, trying to gain new vantage points because what is going on is never quite the same thing twice. An image which seems to be on the surface will be echoed, repeated further behind. Or, is that closer? There’s very little color in the pieces which captivate my attention, just, as they say, shades of gray, reverberating lines and curves, drifting closer, collapsing backward. I stood with my head close to the wall and analyzed the complexity of the tree piece below. It’s ghostly, an apparition of a tree, yet seemingly three dimensional and real. Paul’s pieces make you question your eyesight, offer a new narrative on shadow and form, on the old adage, what you see is what you get. Not so fast.

That TREE. Deceptive, beautiful.

Straight, curved, ghostly.

Mark Orr – Pinckney, Michigan

My take: Mark creates sculpture with a serious yet playful humor. They’re the sorts of pieces which are easily approachable, could be added to most any space, from a bedroom to a den. They don’t jump out at you, but sort of creep up, then catch you attention all at once. The simple bird shapes, sitting on a branch (my favorite) or a large heart shape with map print, or house, comprising a coat hanger / key holder, they’re the sort of warm, friendly additions to a space which not just make them homey, but make them memorable. Some are quite small in size, so they’re easy additions, not something you have to clear out a large space to accommodate.

Birds of a feather perch atop art together.

Key to your heart, mapped out and delivered.

Helen Gotlib – Ann Arbor, Michigan

My take: Big, lovely floral depictions which command attention with subtle color. For Helen, to me, it was all about the wonderful lines, the energy conveyed, expressed in each piece. Shading and lines, intensity and then paleness of color are so dramatically utilized as to cajole the eye into lingering, staring, enjoying. Flowers as art subject matter are trumped by nothing else, so there’s a challenge in doing something new and original, of a different style and character. It’s not the tremendous variety of color which make you linger over Helen’s work, but the absence of it, replaced with what can be done and the mood created when few are used, but used so very well, beautifully.

BIG impact, brilliant restraint, subtleties.

Drama of a somber kind.

One more day to enjoy the 51st annual Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival. So, if it’s still Sunday, what are you doing reading this?! 🙂


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